A new report from a German magazine states President Donald Trump aims to push Mercedes-Benz, and other German luxury auto makers, out of the USA market.
Trump reportedly told Macron that he would maintain the ban until no Mercedes-Benz cars are seen on Fifth Avenue in NY.
The president asked Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to consider whether the imports of automobiles, including trucks and automotive parts, threaten US national security.
Berlin has also reacted angrily to a United States vehicle imports investigation, which could lead to tariffs of up to 25 per cent on the same "national security" grounds that Washington used to impose metals duties in March. An exclusive report from German magazine WirtschaftsWoche cites several unnamed us and European diplomats. Back in April 2017, Trump called the trade situation an "unfair one-way street".
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Mercedes-Benz builds SUVs and C-Class cars at its plant in Vance, Alabama.
European Union passenger vehicle imports from the United States were worth 6.2 billion euros ($7.3 billion) past year, while the bloc's US exports topped 37 billion euros, according to Brussels-based industry association ACEA. But that includes a significantly higher percent of high-line vehicles, as three of the four main German brands focus on luxury segments. USA exports to the EU exceeded 37 billion euros, according to European automobile manufacturers ' Association ACEA. And last week, the Trump administration did, in fact, begin investigating the possibility: the administration began a so-called "Section 232 trade investigation" into European vehicle imports. The Mercedes-Benz factory in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, builds a similar number of vehicles, and just previous year parent company Daimler invested $1.3 billion expanding the facility.
Several German automakers have plants in the United States, including Mercedes-Benz in Alabama and BMW in SC. In the meantime, the preferred brands by USA drivers could have prices that put many of them out of reach. But the possibility of new auto tariffs does have some support from Detroit, General Motors CEO Mary Barra saying she wanted to see a "level playing field" during a question-and-answer session at a Goldman Sachs conference last week. Once the dominant players in the American luxury market, they are now tier-two players behind a range of European and Asian imports, German brands in particular.
Trump has railed against German carmakers before and in early 2017, in an interview with German newspaper Bild, had said he would impose 35 percent tariffs on imported cars.